New time standards streamline progress of cases

by Sonya Artero, KUAM News
Thursday, September 21, 2006

With the adoption of new time standards put in place to improve the case management of Guam's judiciary, there should be no more complaints about cases languishing for years on end or cases held in limbo as a result of entangled litigation. It's frustrating enough to have to come to the court in the first place, but that frustration just multiplies when those with cases are made to wait.

Citing numerous complaints by local citizens about the excessive time it takes for cases to be finalized within our court system, Superior Court policy planning and communications director Dan Tydingco says the Supreme Court adopted the Judicial Efficiency Act of 2006. This was a decision Supreme Court Chief Justice Phil Carbullido put into effect after ironing out the details with the Guam Bar Association along with respective judges who all agreed the new standards make for a better practice.

Said Tydingco, "Under the new time standards, if you come in or any other party comes in, we're going to have specific timeframes. If you have a felony, that felony will be concluded in one year. As for a misdemeanor, 100% should be concluded within twelve months." And being time sensitive should in no way affect the quality of decisions, opinions or judgments rendered by the judges.

The law that allows the Unified Judicial Council to create rules to increase the efficiency of the services provided by the Guam court was authored by Senator Bob Klitzkie (R), who chairs the Legislative Committee on Judiciary. "There's the old saying," the second-term policymaker recalled, "that justice delayed is justice denied, so moving cases speedily through the court system is to everyone's advantage and certainly in the public's interest to have a judicial system that moves promptly."

What's more, Tydingco points out, if judges don't follow the new time standards, they simply won't get paid. "You have to dispose of your cases within a specified timeframe. You have to be accountable for what you do every single moment that you're here, otherwise, if there is non compliance with that, your paycheck is withheld," he explained.

After all, the Judiciary's goal is to improve their services and operations and according to Tydingco, adopting the new time standards will do just that.

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